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Sustainable energy event to feature technology, business, policy issues

by Michael Kirk - March 17, 2008

Sustainable alternative energy will be the focus of a symposium at UConn from March 31 to April 1.

The event will feature talks by top federal and state lawmakers, as well as in-depth policy workshops on topics ranging from new technology to business development and public policy issues in the field.

“Our main goal is to show the broadest group of people how multi-faceted the energy issues are, and the intensity of effort being put forth by a very broad group of scientists, engineers, business people, and political leaders right here in Connecticut,” says conference organizer Richard Parnas, director of the chemical engineering program and head of the UConn Biofuels Consortium.

Parnas says that, in contrast to a similar symposium in 2007 that was almost entirely devoted to biofuels, this year the symposium will discuss sustainable energy more broadly, including biofuels, solar energy, and fuel cells, as well as the plant science and agriculture that are necessary to support biofuels.

The first day of this year’s symposium will feature remarks from U.S. Reps. Joseph Courtney and Rosa DeLauro, as well as State Senate President Donald Williams, House Speaker James Amman, and House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero.

The event will be introduced by President Michael J. Hogan.

The second day will offer workshops for smaller groups that require more hands-on experience in biofuels, fuel cells, investment, and business development.

“Sustainable energy sources are essential to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and stemming the environmental impacts of their use,” says Richard Miller, director of the University’s Office of Environmental Policy and a fellow organizer of the symposium.

He notes that new energy sources need to be advanced in order to make a smoother and more rapid transition from fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas, to sustainable and renewable alternatives.

“It is part of the University’s educational mission not only to share information but also to set an example for the societal change needed to prevent the more serious environmental impacts, and even catastrophic consequences, of global climate change,” Miller says.

Registration information and further details are on the Biofuels Consotrium website.



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